What God Called Clean

What God Called Clean

It’s the 5th Sunday of Easter. Our scriptures are:
Revelation 21:1-6
Psalm 148
John 13:31-35
Acts 11:1-18

Peter sees a vision of animals that his faith considers “unclean” and he is forbidden to have anything contact with these animals. Yet, a voice commands him to “kill and eat.” But Peter, being the good religious follower that he is, says that “nothing unclean will touch my lips.” And the voice replies, “What God has called clean, you must not call profane.” Now, we can enjoy shrimp scampi… and bacon.  The only problem is that this isn’t about bacon (as much as I want it to be). It’s about people. And that makes this whole thing a bit more… messy.

Honestly, I’d rather preach about bacon.

This story is about a new way of looking at people. It’s about a new way of seeing the Imago Dei (the image of God) living in each and every one of us. It’s about seeing that each and every one of us in need of God’s amazing and abundant grace. It’s about realizing, as Peter did that “God has shown me (Peter) that I should not call anyone profane or unclean (Acts 10:28) and “I (Peter) truly understand that God shows no partiality.” He doesn’t say, “You are now not unclean” or “these people should be included.” He says all.

On a weekend when an 18 year old avowed white supremacist travels 3 hours to a grocery store in a black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, with the intention to kill as many people as possible. When this same person, fitted with a bullet proof vest and a gun designed for the sole purpose of killing people, walks into the store firing his weapon, killing 11 and injuring 2 while live streaming this horror on the internet for all to see, it is hard to see image of God in that person. But it is still there. There is evil at work in the world, and believe me, this act is evil personified. In our baptism, we pledge to “accept the freedom and power God gives (us) to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” at the same time that we publicly confess Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Like I said, I’d rather preach about bacon. But that wouldn’t be the gospel.  Our challenge is see everyone and to hear everyone so that we may love everyone as Jesus loves us. We cannot do that on our own. We need Jesus’ help. We are witnesses to the power of the Spirit at work in the world, and we are invited to stand with any and all and declare them clean.

Thanks be to God.


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